Perhaps President trump and continues publicly to curry favor with Vladimir Putin. But the United States is quietly preparing to conduct information warfare against Russia.
The presidential campaign of 2016 has aroused the vigilance of the public in the matter of fact that information is a weapon and used properly it can be incredibly effective. According to a recent report of American intelligence, the Russian authorities tried to divide American society, using various means — from WikiLeaks to RT and Sputnik. To some extent they succeeded — increasing public skepticism about American institutions and the press — as well as undermining the electoral campaign of Hillary Clinton.
“Russia is trying to sow in a society of chaos, to question the reliability of the institutions and cause him to distrust, said Karl Altau (Karl Altau), Director of the joint Baltic-American national Committee, which opposes Russia disseminated misinformation. This is a national threat. That’s what responsible citizens need to consider”.
Russia’s intervention in the democratic process in the United States caught many American policymakers by surprise, observers say. But the dramatic nature of the conclusions that have made the intelligence community before the election trump, and after it — brought them to life.
“It didn’t pay much attention to until last summer in the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton [was not the result of hacking e-mail correspondence], says Donald Jensen (Jensen Donald), senior researcher at the Center for European policy analysis — one of the leading think tanks dealing with the Russian information war. — If you were last spring and asked if the senators and legislators, whether it is a problem they have responded negatively… People are trying to catch up.”
Without any fuss, this process of catching up begins gradually. The US government sends tens of millions of dollars to fight the propaganda of Vladimir Putin and government agencies and this is reflected in the annual defense policy bill amounting to several thousands of pages, passed by the Congress.
What form will this work under the administration of trump, and whether his administration to use propaganda tools correctly and to destination from the point of view of the law, calls for new programs to counter significant uncertainty. The fact that trump publicly condone Putin, puts it into question. This new measure raises another question: is it right that the President is given another propaganda tool?
Usually, when Congress is taking retaliatory measures against America’s enemies, this response takes the form of sanctions — that is, targeted pressure on the economic well-being of the enemy. Countering the propaganda and information war is a matter of more abstract and complex and often go unnoticed.
But bipartisan initiative led by Senator Rob Portman (Rob Portman) and Senator Chris Murphy (Chris Murphy) it was decided to allocate $ 160 million for a two-year programme to combat the propaganda of the state structures with the mediation of an obscure interdepartmental division at the state Department called “Centre for global cooperation” (Global Engagement Center/GEC).
The law on Russian sanctions proposed last month on a bipartisan basis by senators Ben Cardin (Ben Cardin) and John McCain (John McCain) will further expand this initiative. For the centre of GEC and other organizations will be allocated an additional 100 million dollars to support the Russian of objective journalism, the fight against “fake news” and research funding implications of information warfare.
When this interdepartmental division will begin work by the end of this year, it will mark the first step in the field of Central counter Russian propaganda during the entire period from 1990-ies, when the end of the cold war, is counter-propaganda, it would seem, has lost its relevance.
Centre GEC will monitor foreign propaganda campaign, to analyze their tactics and counter them by providing a series of grants to foreign journalists, public organizations and private companies.
“By directly countering false information and empower local media and civil societies to protect themselves from manipulation from abroad, this law will help to support our allies and protect our interests in the face of growing instability in the world,” — said in an interview with The Daily Beast Rob Portman.
Grants will be provided by independent organisations. For example, the right to these funds will have such web sites like Bellingcat and StopFake.org that provide access to accurate information and oppose the dissemination of false news Russia’s message on Ukraine.
“We can’t respond to state propaganda even more government propaganda. The correct answer is to use the main advantage, which continues to have of Western societies compared to authoritarian regimes — indeed a strong pluralistic civil society”, explains Alina Polyakova, who is the Deputy Director of the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council and from the outset supported the adoption of the law on the center GEC.
Center for global engagement was originally created under the Obama administration to counter the propaganda of Islamic state (banned terrorist organizations — approx. ed.), but the initiative Portman-Murphy has expanded its scope and provides, in particular, and the anti-propaganda from the government agencies — considering the fact that the main enemy is Russia. This step also helped to increase funding of the center 16 times. According to the staff of Murphy, on the activities of the centre GEC initially allocated only $ 5 million a year.
However, information warfare remains an area of conflict, where Russian is much more advanced. This concept is a formal idea that sounded in the statements of Russia about its military doctrine, which was published in 2013. Putin backs up his words with actions: evaluation Polyakova, in the information war in the US, Russia annually spends at least $ 400 million.
“Russia has a well thought-out comprehensive information strategy to influence the coverage of events, political views and politics in Western countries… unparalleled in scope and complexity, and malignancy,” she says.
Unlike during the cold war, Putin has no need to promote the communism of the Soviet sample — all he needs to undermine American democracy.
“Russia does not have to promote any ideology, it is enough to exploit the differences that exist in the West, and the uncertainty of the West in its own values in what is true and what is not, said Donald Jensen. — The risk that, in the West underestimate”.
The United States, on the other hand, in connection with the closing of United States Information Agency in 1999 largely turned anti-Russian information war. The funds allocated in recent years to counteract the propaganda, sent to fight against Russian propaganda, and mainly jihadist — and the effectiveness of spending a large part of these funds was highly questionable.
The center of the CGE according to the original plan of the Obama administration should be focusing on how to spread propaganda antiepilepsy on potential extremists. But compared to the propaganda campaign of the West LIH has the advantage, allowing him to win in this confrontation, the United States and its allies are unable to come to a common opinion in a question of propaganda against ISIS.
One of the activities within the framework of propaganda against ISIS using video, which was shown on the atrocities the terrorist organization (including the crucified body and severed head), has been criticized by some experts, who called these materials obscene, and perhaps even advantageous to the enemy.
And these initiatives have been trite and hackneyed — despite the fact that the creation of the promotional clips was attracted by the most talented creative minds in Hollywood. The American authorities already came to the conclusion that ISIS is effectively spreading its propaganda, compared to what the American propaganda fight.
Other American campaign in the framework of the information war (for example, when it spent $ 24 million to fly around on a plane to Cuba with the purpose of directed broadcast filmed with funding from the U.S. television programs, which Cuban authorities to immediately score interference) was either poorly thought out or poorly implemented.
Approximately in the beginning of this decade the USA has attempted to create access to the Internet and social tools to empower dissidents and activists Democrats — including in Russia. These actions in social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, turned against the USA because Putin considered these tools taken US-led attempts to overthrow it — and now uses these networks to spread false or the Pro-Russian news.
Still, the aggressiveness and the success of Russia’s actions on this front, as well as the lack of preparedness of the US to these actions began to attract the attention of the American intelligence community. During one of his last appearances on Capitol hill, the outgoing Director of National intelligence James Clapper suggested that the United States has restored the U.S. Information Agency to combat misinformation.
This idea has inspired legislators from among the representatives of both parties. Democratic and democratic Senator Chris coons (Chris Coons), and Republican Senator Todd young (Todd Young) during the hearings regarding approval of Rex Tillerson to the post of Secretary of state spoke about countering Russian propaganda.
“Our enemies use of foreign propaganda and misinformation against us and our allies, and U.S. authorities still do nothing, and this problem can not cope. We should cast away the false rhetoric, false information, emanating from Russia, China and other countries, and to expand access to information based on facts, said Portman in an interview with The Daily Beast. — We need to enact a law to organize the work of the new centre so that it could prevent broad and destabilizing external propaganda and disinformation waged against us by our foreign enemies.”
Anyway, trump is well aware of the power and what are the possibilities of using such new media as social networking, with wider consequences. How could say friend of the President of the famous conspiracy promoting conspiracy theories Alex Jones (Alex Jones), there is a war for your minds.